Birth Boot Camp® Natural Childbirth Education Classes – Online and Instructor-

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Childbirth Education

newborn breastfeeding

Newborn Breastfeeding and the 10th Day Growth Spurt

newborn breastfeeding

Breastfeeding success has always been an important goal for Birth Boot Camp and breastfeeding education is included in our online and in-person classes through a long and detailed video presentation by Mellanie Sheppard, IBCLC. One thing that often throws people off in their breastfeeding journey is the very early days and the confusion and lack of personal confidence that unexpected growth spurts can cause for the nursing mother. We love this guest today from Alex Rounds, an experienced breastfeeding mother and lactation counselor. Our hope is that you will read this and share it with expecting mothers so that they can thrive during the first months of breastfeeding. And, if you are really passionate about breastfeeding, taking her advice and giving mom a gift during this "10th day growth spurt" just might change a life and help preserve a nursing relationship. 

Enjoy!

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Experienced parents recognize some baby shower gifts don’t end up getting much use. We can’t predict what we’re really going to need until we meet our babies. But there are some things about infants that are predictable, like dirty diapers, sleep debt and growth spurts. We know babies grow quickly by the sheer volume of newborn to 0-3 month clothes on the registry, but the actual implications in terms of feeding aren’t often talked about. So I want to share a proposal that would make a fantastic tradition of giving a 10 day growth spurt gift/IOU to every mom out there. Women Infant and Children (WIC) Director Peter Schlichting brought up the idea with intent to give new moms extra attention and love at a time when hormone levels are dropping and infant needs are increasing as a way to promote continued breastfeeding, but a 10 Day Growth Spurt Gift should be for all moms.

All moms can probably use a little extra attention during the postpartum period, but breastfeeding moms and their newborns may especially benefit from a reminder around the time of the first major growth spurt. The gift of time and companionship when a new mom is home alone with what may seem to be an insatiable newborn can be incredible. In the United States, breastfeeding initiation rates are almost 80% but rates drop to 40% by 3 months (CDC, 2014), a drop largely attributed to concerns regarding milk supply (Li, R., Fein, S., Chen, J., & Grummer-Strawn, L 2008). Often this is misguided: it is not necessarily a supply issue but a growth spurt. If we can help moms get through the first growth spurt, maybe we can help increase breastfeeding rates at 3 months and beyond.

The gift can be anything from a pedicure, massage, lunch date or anything special for the mom. It should be something for the woman, not for her baby, and adaptable to whatever the moms needs are at the time. After giving birth, focus shifts from the woman to her baby, a new mother’s hormones are in flux and if she is like most women, she has lost a little sleep since her darling little one arrived. The combination of a baby with a growth spurt and a hormonal shifts can be rough on Moms to put it mildly, so a little extra attention and focus on the Mom can help her adapt and give Mom the boost she probably needs.

Getting out of the house might be a treat at this stage, but not all women are ready to venture out, so keep in mind your friend’s perspective. If you plan a trip out- you might want to include an hour of your time to help Mom get out the door with her little one, and to offer to drive. For Moms who aren’t ready to leave home, bringing take out lunch from a favorite restaurant or having a home visit by a massage therapist with postpartum experience can be phenomenal. Take the time together to ask how she is doing, if she’s getting enough help and how breastfeeding is going for her.

The first growth spurt usually occurs between 10 and 14 days and comes at an often difficult time for breastfeeding moms. Whether breastfeeding has started off without a hitch or with challenges, the breastfeeding mom may feel that things should be getting easier. But then a few weeks after birth the baby will increase the frequency and often amount of time spent at feedings. Uplifting mother centered support can be the light that helps her get through the frequent feedings that come with growth spurts. When you give her the 10 Day Growth Spurt Gift, talk with her, she how she’s doing, and ask her if she has noticed a growth spurt, and if she hasn’t yet, you can remind her to expect one soon.

Some points that are important to know about breastfeeding that can help Mom, family and friends understand breastfeeding are:

Milk production is triggered by demand. The more a baby nurses, the more milk will be produced.

Frequent feedings are normal for a few days during growth spurts but typically space out within 2-3 days.

Breastfeeding takes more time in the beginning but long term is less time consuming than formula feeding.

Breast milk is easy for babies to digest. It moves through their digestive system with ease. That’s why babies need to nurse frequently. Formula is more difficult to digest.

Newborns should breastfeed 12 or more times in 24 hours. At the same time, it’s important to watch babies hunger cues, and not necessarily go by the clock.

Babies may cluster feed, or feed several times over several hours, then take a break. This is normal.

If your friend who has planned to breastfeed is having trouble or has questions, many communities have La Leche League Chapters (find them here http://www.llli.org/webus.html) which typically hold monthly woman to woman support meetings. LLL leaders, Breastfeeding or Lactation Counselors, International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) and other professionals who specialize in breastfeeding are great resources too!

A little extra support, a treat, and a reminder about normal developments can help a new Mom when things may seem hard. Let’s do our best to help new moms transition into motherhood. Let’s make sure new Moms know they have a community that cares, who they can lean on, and that there are resources. And most of all, let’s take care of them.

Alex Rounds, Doula

In a nutshell, Alex Rounds is a moderately well-adjusted human being.  She is a member of La Leche League, a Breastfeeding Counselor, and Mom with a total of 8 years personal experience breastfeeding, not all of which were easy.  She has three fun, quirky and ever-challenging sweet kids. Presently, Alex's time is consumed with homeschooling, studying midwifery, volunteering, providing breastfeeding support, and attending birth as a doula.

 

Kim Graves, Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator on Whibley Island, Washington State

Birth Classes on Whidbey Island, WA

The choice to name this childbirth company, "Birth Boot Camp" was intentional. We wanted people to know that the class was intensive and serious and we wanted partners to feel comfortable coming to class and not feel like it was all just focused on the mother. One result is that we have our fair share of women teaching who were active duty military or are married to active duty military. We love having them be part of our organization. And because they tend to move on a regular basis, they help us spread the Birth Boot Camp love around the country (and world)!

Today we will introduce you to Kim Graves. She was one of the incredible women who has taken our training. Now residing and teaching childbirth classes in Washington State on Whidbey Island, she is dedicated to helping women have better births no matter where she is. Let's meet her!

Kim Graves, Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator on Whidbey Island, Washington State

First, could you introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about your own birth experiences and how they influenced your desire to teach birth classes.

My name is Kim Graves and I’m a mom to three beautiful children, a daughter and two sons, all born naturally. I grew up in Hawaii, went to school in San Diego, then married a Navy man and have lived in WA, CA, and FL, and am now currently back in Washington state, on beautiful Whidbey Island.

When I got pregnant with my first I thought I’d just do what everyone else did, and go to the hospital to get an epidural. But as I started to research birth a bit more I knew that wasn’t what I wanted. My husband & I took a 12 week childbirth class and it was the best thing we could have done! I had an amazing natural hospital birth in our small town community hospital. 3 years later I found myself pregnant again, but living in a different place with a hospital I knew for sure I didn’t want to birth in, so I started researching midwives. After interviewing the one closest to us, it was actually my husband who said we should do it at home. He’s in the Navy and was likely going to be deployed for the birth, so the added comfort of not having to worry about what to do with our older daughter was a big factor. My husband ended up missing my son’s birth by just 8 hours! But I have to say that even though I’d never wish him not there for a birth, giving birth in just the presence of women was an amazing experience. My third baby was born at home also, and was my husband’s first homebirth experience, and it was so fun to see him finally “get” why I loved my homebirth with our second baby.

I knew as soon as we took our class with our first pregnancy that I wanted to teach childbirth education. It made such a huge impact on me, not only learning things I wasn’t learning anywhere else, but also being surrounded by other couples who had the same goal of a natural birth. I was surrounded by naysayers when I’d say I was planning a natural birth, so having that community was so important to me.

What first got you interested in the realm of birth?

Popping that first baby out! It was so empowering! I wanted every woman to know they could have an amazing birth, and not fear it so much like society tells us we should. I very quickly became a birth junkie!

What are your particular passions concerning birth?

That women can’t always trust who they birth with. A woman should be able to walk into a hospital and have the birth they want, but unfortunately that’s just not true so much of the time these days. It’s hard, because I think it’s so different now than even our mother’s generation, so when we’re hearing our mother’s stories we think we can do it. So many women just don’t realize what they’re up against when they walk in the hospital doors. The policy that often isn’t evidence based, the deeply ingrained ideas many doctors hold that birth needs to be “fixed” or managed. And that women themselves don’t realize it doesn’t need to be managed either, that our bodies are MEANT to do this, even without help of doctors and hospitals, and pitocin and epidurals, and monitoring belts and IVs.

There are lots of different childbirth educator training programs out there. Why did you choose Birth Boot Camp?

Without naming names, there were several programs I was looking at when my second baby got to an age where I finally decided to jump in and pursue this goal. But none of them were really speaking to me. And then Birth Boot Camp was announced. The timing was just meant to be! What I love most about it, besides that it’s so comprehensive and up to date, is that it’s women run. Every other program I was looking at was run by men, and that seemed to be part of their weakness. I love that Birth Boot Camp was “birthed” by women!

Tell us a little about your Birth Boot Camp training experience. Where did you train? What did you like about it?

I was living in Florida at the time and flew to Dallas for my training. I had originally planned on training in June, but then found myself pregnant again and due in July! My husband wasn’t comfortable with me traveling so late in my pregnancy, so I moved up my training to April. It made it a little tight, since I had to fit all my reading and preparation into 5 months instead of 7, but I loved immersing myself into the material. The training itself was so much fun. Being surrounded by so many passionate women is inspiring! And getting to meet Donna & Sarah was a huge bonus!

How is teaching your own classes going for you? What do you enjoy most about it?

I still feel pretty new to this game. I taught one class with one student in Florida before we moved back to Washington, where I’m starting all over again as far as networking and getting my name out there. I’m currently planning a class for November, and have had a lot of interest! Whidbey Island is a fairly small community, and is sorely lacking in childbirth education options. I’ve had a very warm welcome from the birth community here, and lots of interest from potential students!

In what ways did the Birth Boot Camp teacher training help prepare you for teaching actual classes?

What I loved most was actually seeing all the demos that are talked about in our instructor manual. I’m a visual learner, so that was huge for me. We also each got to mock teach a topic to the group, and it was so helpful to see how differently everyone approached their topics. Everyone has their own style, and it was great to get a taste of so many.

To close, tell us how you see natural childbirth education having a positive impact? Why does this work matter to you?

As a feminist, what I love most about childbirth education is how empowering it is. Women own their choices, and own their births, and go into parenthood more confident. I love how we include dads, to help empower them, too! There are also so many health benefits, and as we see more research being done I think we’ll start seeing more of a backlash against managed birth and hopefully more women choosing natural births, which I hope in turn will push hospitals to change their policies to be more mother and baby friendly, and more evidence based.

Where can we find you? (Website, FB page, physical location, etc.)

Kim-Graves-web

My website is KeepCalmBirthOn.com. I’m teaching in Oak Harbor, WA, which is located on Whidbey Island. My email is kgraves(at)birthbootcamp(dot)com

Pregnancy and Chiropractic Care

Pregnancy and Chiropractic Care

Pregnancy and Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care during pregnancy is something that we have always encouraged for our students. The reasons for this are many and can  include:

-Increased comfort during pregnancy. Back pain during pregnancy is a common problem that can be helped with chiropractic. The benefits can extend beyond this issue and help other sources of discomfort like SPD.

-Improved positioning of the infant for birth. Webster certified chiropractors are famous for their ability to adjust the pelvis and release the round ligament on the pregnant mom and thus allow the baby to move into a position that is more advantageous for the birth. This can help with breech presentations as well as posterior or other variations.

-Faster labor. Many midwives notice that their clients who have regular chiropractic care from a skilled practitioner have faster births than those who don't. This may be due to the improved positioning of the baby which can allow it to more easily navigate through the pelvis.

The benefits of chiropractic care can even extend beyond the birth of the baby and into the breastfeeding relationship. Some lactation consultants refer to chiropractors for latch issues or trouble breastfeeding.

Dr Hosaka adjusting an infant
Dr Kristin Hosaka, Birth Boot Camp Advisory Board Member, adjusts a baby.

The video below briefly describes how and why we include chiropractic in our online childbirth classes and encourage our live instructors to invite a local chiropractor to their own classes.

We believe that chiropractic care can be an important part of achieving a natural birth.

Looking for a chiropractor for your pregnancy? Check out this article on how to find one for you.

References-

This small study found that chiropractic adjustment could relieve back pain during pregnancy:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1829312?dopt=Abstract

This small study also found chiropractic care to give significant relief to a high percentage of women: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16399602?dopt=Abstract

This case study chronicles the labor pattern of one women and quick progress after adjustment: http://chiropracticpediatrics.sharepoint.com/Pages/2009_1002_dystocia.aspx

Three patients discussed whose labor quickly proceeded after chiropractic adjustment: http://icpa4kids.org/Chiropractic-Research/chiropractic-care-of-women-during-pregnancy-and-the-possible-success-at-resolving-dystocia-a-case-series.html

30 pregnant patients undergo Webster technique adjustments and most see improved fetal positioning: http://icpa4kids.org/Chiropractic-Research/patients-with-malposition-and-malpresentation-pregnancies-cared-for-with-the-webster-technique-a-retrospective-analysis.html

5 patients with breech babies undergo chiropractic care and all have improved positioning: http://icpa4kids.org/Chiropractic-Research/the-webster-in-utero-constraint-technique-a-case-series.html

A survey of chiropractors practicing the Webster technique finds a high percentage of patients have resolved breech presentation following adjustment: http://icpa4kids.org/Chiropractic-Research/the-webster-technique-a-chiropractic-technique.html

Review of chiropractic during pregnancy evidence: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18722200

9 examples or studies of chiropractic benefiting the breastfeeding relationship or improving latch: http://icpa4kids.org/Chiropractic-Research/Breastfeeding-Difficulties/

 

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Dress That Bump- Easy Halloween Costumes For a Pregnant Belly

Happy Halloween all you lovely pregnant ladies! Need a quick idea for the party this weekend? Here are a few from our favorite women and fabulous Birth Boot Camp instructors.

D'Andra is an instructor in  Oklahoma. How clever and funny is this?!
D'Andra is an instructor in Oklahoma. How clever and funny is this?!

Too cute! Meet D'Andra, She teaches birth classes in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. An "Easy Button" costume. Love it!

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With just some paint and fake brick you can transform your preggo belly into a lovely nursery rhyme- Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall. Adorable!

A pumpkin belly- classic!
A pumpkin belly- classic!

With a little paint and a round belly you are super festive and ready for Halloween! Easy as pie. This is Shazia and she teaches birth classes in Arlington, TX.

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Here is Shazia again in a couples pregnancy costume. Just a t-shirt and you are ready to party!

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Another painted pregnant belly.

This gorgeous pumpkin belly comes from instructor Melissa who teaches childbirth classes in Corvallis, Oregon.

And if you aren't really showing but want to announce that lovely little growing person in your belly, isn't this the CUTEST idea ever?!

 

A bun in the oven.
A bun in the oven.

Daniella teaches Birth Boot Camp childbirth preparation classes in Fort Worth, TX.

Have a wonderful Halloween!

 

doctorbirth

What Your Doctor Wants To Tell You About Birth, But Can’t

doctorbirth

Too often, medical doctors are portrayed as the bad guys in the birthing world. In truth, there is a lot we don't see and which they really can't talk about. We are excited to share this guest post today from Jessicca Moore, a family nurse practitioner and filmmaker in Petaluma, CA. Jessica is currently raising money to help finish a film all about medical personnel who birth at home. (There are more of them than you would think!) You can read more about her film, "Why Not Home?", on their website. Her words are wise and incredibly helpful. Happy birthing!

If you’re planning a hospital birth in the US, you’re likely seeing an OB/GYN. Some of you are seeing a family doctor or a certified-nurse-midwife (CNM) who will attend you at the hospital.

Doctors and nurses are trained not to impose their own values and beliefs onto their patients. To the woman who says she doesn’t want to feel any pain during labor and wants an epidural as soon as possible, our training tells us to accept this as her choice and support her in it. To the woman who says she wants an unmedicated natural labor, our training tells us to accept and support this choice as equally valid.

Your provider is supposed to maintain some professional distance and remain unbiased toward her patients. Because of this, she likely won’t tell you about how difficult her recovery from her c-section was and how she couldn’t pick up her toddler for weeks.

She won’t tell you about the intense rush of emotion and joy that came over her when she gave birth to her daughter after a long 30 hour unmedicated vaginal birth. If she did, you might feel like you should do it the way she did, or do it differently, depending on her story.

In your 10-15 minute visits, it can be hard to delve deeply into all the possible risks and benefits of each decision, the research, and your personal values and preferences. Even if you did, the chances that that provider is going to be the one attending your birth are pretty slim.

So much of birth is out of your control. Once you’re in labor, things can go any number of ways.

If you want to have a natural birth, here are some things you can do to stack the deck in your favor.

  • Get prepared. There are lots of great childbirth preparation programs out there. Try a few and see what fits. Knowledge is power when it comes to birth.

  • Read birth stories. Positive ones. Listen to your friends who had great births. Focus on those. Your birth can be great too.

  • Get support. Hire a doula. Don’t think you can afford one? Call and talk to a few. You may be surprised. If you can’t get a doula, ask friend who has experienced birth and knows your plan to be there to support and advocate for you. Your partner will be having their own experience. Don’t rely on them to be everything for you.

  • Get informed. What is your hospital’s c-section rate? Trying for a VBAC? What’s the VBAC success rate at your hospital? Birth by the Numbers has a great site for getting this information. www.birthbythenumbers.org

  • Ask questions. Especially if something doesn’t feel quite right. Is the induction necessary? What if we wait 2 more days? It’s your body and your baby. You’re allowed to ask questions.

  • Take care. Rest. Eat well. Stay active. Try prenatal yoga. You’ll be that much better off entering labor if your body is strong and healthy.

Do all that, and then let go. Birth is big. Birth is beautiful. There’s no one right way to do it.

You are powerful. You are capable. You can do it.

If and when you need help, it will be there for you.

No one can tell you how it will go for you.

You and your baby are starting your journey together. You’ll have your own unique experience.

Your doctor may have seen hundreds or thousands of births, but they’ve never seen yours.

Nurture Nature Photography and Erin Wrightsman -c- 2013 erin@erinwrightsman.com  2013040920130409-RRL_0819 (1)

Jessicca Moore is a family nurse practitioner and filmmaker in Petaluma, CA where she lives with her husband, two children, and two sheep. She is currently in production on her first feature-length documentary, “Why Not Home?” The film follows hospital birth providers who chose to give birth at home. You can watch a trailer and get more information here: www.whynothome.com and support the project on kickstarter at bit.ly/whynothome through October 10th.

Follow the project on twitter and instagram @whynothome and facebook at facebook.com/whynothome

You can find Jessicca on twitter @jessicca_moore

(Photos by Erin Wrightsman, used with permission.)

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